Beef pie

Beef pie

Cooking time: 160 minutes.
Serves 3-4 as a main course.

This warm, meaty pie is perfect for a cold winters night in. The flavour of the rich stew and light buttery, melt in the mouth pastry together is exquisite.

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Ingredients

Pastry
350g puff pastry (bought pre-made)
20g butter to grease pie dish
1 egg, beaten

Filling
450g (1lb) stewing beef, cut into cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions (approx 250g in weight)
2 large cloves garlic
200g closed cup mushrooms, washed and sliced in half
2 medium carrots
1 ½ sticks celery
300ml stock (1 ½ tsp bouillon or other stock cube dissolved in boiling water)
½ tsp mustard
½ tsp each of dried thyme, rosemary and oregano
2 x bay leaf
200ml red wine
¾ tsp vinegar (white wine, red wine or cider vinegar are all fine, but not malt or spirit vinegar)
2 tsp soy sauce
1 heaped tsp cornflour

Equipment

Ceramic pie dish or 4 ceramic ramekins
Rolling pin
Pastry brush

Method

Making the Filling
Pre-heat the oven to 150 centigrade (gas mark 2).

Fry the onion in a small amount of the olive oil (about 1/3) for 10 mins until translucent, add garlic and fry for 1 min, then add celery and carrot, stir well and turn down the heat.

Meanwhile fry mushrooms in a small amount of the olive oil (about 1/3) in another frying pan, when cooked remove to a bowl.

Fry beef in the remaining olive oil in the frying pan you used for the mushrooms, until pale on outside, about 5-10 mins, remove from pan and set aside.

Brush the casserole dish with a little olive oil and place on a low heat on the hob.

Add the fried onion mixture, mushrooms and beef into the casserole and stir together, add the stock, herbs, bay leaves, wine and mustard and give it a good stir. Cover and leave for a few minutes until it begins to simmer lightly.

Put this in the oven, covered for at least 1 ½ hours.

When the stew has finished cooking, remove from the oven and turn the oven up to 180 centigrade (gas mark 4). Much of the liquid should have evaporated off the stew – leaving just a thin layer of liquid at the bottom. If not remove some of the excess liquid.

Remove the bay leaves from the stew.

Stir the soy sauce together with the cornflour in a separate cup or bowl and add this and the vinegar into the stew and stir well to combine.

Making The Pie
Grease the pie dish or ramekins and pour the stew into this. Try to arrange the stew so that it comes about half to ¾ of the way up the depth of the tin, but with more of the stew piled in the middle of the tin or ramekin than around the edges.

Roll out the pastry (if it is not already rolled-out) using as little flour as possible and cut a ring the size of the pie dish and about 1 cm wide.

Brush the edge of the pie dish with the beaten egg and stick the ring of pastry to this, brush this with egg.

Cut a piece of pastry the same shape as the pie dish or ramekins, place this over the pastry rim. Trim off any remaining pieces of pastry from around the edge.

Cut the leftover pastry into leaves or another pretty shape and add them to the top, using the beaten egg to stick them on. Cut a cross in the middle of the pastry to let steam out.

Brush the pastry top thoroughly with the remaining beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown on top.

Serve immediately.

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